Pride coach to help Ipswich clubs
IF Western Pride Football Club was a jigsaw puzzle, Jamie Dixon could provide the vital final piece.
At least, that's the focus the recently appointed technical skill coach is adopting.
In any new sporting entity, building a strong relationship with existing clubs is a massive challenge.
Given the Football Ipswich-owned franchise is only three years old, Western Pride officials have done a commendable job building a solid foundation while attracting promising players and coaches.
However, a perception among parents and coaches at some catchment clubs is that Pride often only takes the leading footballers from around the region to play in the National Premier Leagues state competition.
Dixon hopes to change that view.
In his new role, he wants to work more closely with important grassroots clubs like the Ipswich Knights, Western Spirit, Ipswich City, Moggill and Colleges United in developing players.
While keen to help better footballers achieve their higher level goals, the UK born and bred coach has a vision to strengthen feeder clubs at the same time.
"We want to try and build a bigger foundation of players and really try to help those catchment clubs develop their coaches and the children,'' Dixon said.
"So the Western Pride teams within the NPL will have the best of the best players and then hopefully, with what I'm doing now, we can have a better region.''
Dixon will essentially be a development link between Western Pride and the local clubs who are also trying to nurture future talent.
"It is very similar to what I did at Olympic,'' Dixon said of his Pride role, having worked at that power club for three years.
"However, with Olympic, it was all about building one academy.
"To be honest, what I did previously wasn't really what the FFA (Football Federation Australia) wanted. It was what that specific club wanted and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
"I'm looking forward to this moreso because it's following guidelines from Football Queensland, from the FFA - trying to build up catchment clubs to make them stronger, in essence to give us better players.''
Having grown up in England before coming to Australia, Dixon is eager to break down the barriers between Western Pride and the lower tier regional clubs.
"We've got to just make sure what we're doing is good,'' Dixon said. "And people want to come and be a part of it.
"And I always go off the mission statement of wanting to attract, retain and develop these players.
"We've got to attract the kids. We are the elite club within this region and we've got a duty to make sure that they're getting the best coaches in the best environment.
"If we don't strengthen the grassroots clubs, we're barking up the wrong tree sort of thing.
"We want to try and bring that mentality here - we are here, but we are here to help you, not take off you.''
Dixon has spent the past few weeks busy conducting Western Pride junior trials at Tivoli for next year's National Premier Leagues competition. He's been focusing on players for teams from under 12 to under 16.
He's been closely involved with Pride's under 13 and under 16 sides.